A lot of people say that the true enemy of any aspiring writer is the dreaded ‘writer’s block’. This is a statement that is more opinion than fact, and yet it holds true for some reason.
I’m not going to lie: I’ve been in a rut for a while now, unable to finish what I started for various reasons– sometimes I think I’ve been giving myself excuses, and no matter how valid or invalid they are, one thing remains clear: I still have not been able to accomplish anything yet.
I had a professor in college once who told me that I should just stop thinking sometimes and just ‘do’. See, my biggest weakness (and I think perhaps what holds a lot of people back), is overthinking. Full disclosure: I consider myself an eternal pessimist, as for every venture, I always think of at least seven different ways things could go wrong. Additionally, I think of seven other ways any of the seven could start out right, but eventually go wrong, and so forth.
The point being, that I had always fear hold me back. I am fully aware that I am not the smartest person on the planet, no matter how much I puff up my chest and act like I am. There’s a certain appeal to be able to use words as if they mean something, when honestly, all I really am capable of is churning out a melodic but incoherent brain fart.
And perhaps the folks who have the unfortunate burden of seeing me on their social media accounts whining away at every little thing from dust mites to politics (or perhaps posting my nth Paul Rudd appreciation post, seriously, I love that man) may like my ocassional attempts at humor, I seriously don’t want to flood their feeds with my narcissism.
Narcissism. There’s a nice word. It took me a while, but I have come to terms with my own ego, and by the god I don’t really believe in, I realized that I am a humongous dickhead.
No, no, seriously. I may scorn at the current generation of ‘millenials’ and their grotesque obsession of labeling themselves, but I will not deny that I suffer from the same root cause of their behavior: I really consider myself and my opinions, in some small way, important.
Look, I’m just a nameless face in an online crowd who ocassionally says something funny, but I am by no means a professional comedian. But that’s the thing with the option of self-publishing and the instantaneous response from social media: it’s easy to give in to the hype that you’re worth something more than what you really are.
I have around 152 followers on my ‘personal’ Twitter account. A lot of those are sex bots and fanpages. There are a few actual people, and even a few more mutuals who I have talked to, and some online personalities that I am gladly surprised are following me. My reach isn’t that far-reaching, though I’ve noticed that when I blog about Encantadia, people are able to find my account through the hashtags.
Not going to lie, I like it. I like it when people find my quips. I like it when people retweet my posts, or like them, or comment on them. A psychologist would say that it’s because it feeds on my ego (or id, whatever), and I really like this attention. I’m owning up to it: I like it when I get what I believe is warranted attention.
I have views, though I am not as strongly opinionated as some people, and my views are usually middling. I’m not special enough to become an opinion leader like other bloggers/tweeters who have followers by the thousands, and honestly, I don’t think I’d want that many followers.
Because at some point, and despite my thirst for clamoring applause, I still want to keep that pride of being true to what I am and not pressured by a mob that follows me, putting me on a pedestal until I make a mistake or say a wrong opinion that wasn’t somehow in line with theirs, or their ideas of what my opinions might be.
Wow. That kinda makes me realize how some celebrities might secretly feel about their own overzealous fans.
Which brings me back to writer’s block: I guess one of the main roots of my own writer’s block is due to the fact that I am always afraid of what other people will think– what holes they will find in my logic, in my reasoning, in my storytelling.
Perhaps I am afraid I will say the wrong things, or alienate people. Perhaps I am afraid of being told my work isn’t as good as all the puffed-up glory I had purported it to be. It is often from the writers that the genesis of an idea comes from, and therefore there can be some sort of deep personal attachment to it. Especially when it is an original work– the idea stems from within the writer, like a cut-off limb, or (less morbidly, I hope) a piece of their soul that reflects their views on the world.
They say in order to create, one must destroy; in this case, deconstruct. And perhaps in the process of writing, one deconstructs themselves in order to rearrange these pieces into something different, yet still vaguely recognizable as to contain one’s identity and self. To publish your work is to put yourself out there, to be judged, to be critiqued, to be humbled or ridiculed– and there is no protecting yourself or shielding yourself from that. But on the flip side, to put yourself out there leaves some glimmer of hope that someone will find it and be inspired, entertained, or even loved.
And from there, I slowly learned a lesson in humility. Yeah, I’m an egotist, but I learned (or at least try to) acknowledge that I am not the end-all, be-all.
It’s okay to suck balls. Sometimes, that’s the only way you get to find out who came for what you can offer.